Open Access Methodology article

A new genomic tool, ultra-frequently cleaving TaqII/sinefungin endonuclease with a combined 2.9-bp recognition site, applied to the construction of horse DNA libraries

Agnieszka Zylicz-Stachula1, Olga Zolnierkiewicz2, Jacek Jasiecki3 and Piotr M Skowron2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Chemistry, Division of Theoretical Physical Chemistry, University of Gdansk, Sobieskiego 18, 80-952, Gdansk, Poland

2 Department of Chemistry, Division of Molecular Biotechnology, University of Gdansk, Sobieskiego 18, 80-952, Gdansk, Poland

3 Department of Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Medical University of Gdansk, Hallera 107, 80-416, Gdansk, Poland

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BMC Genomics 2013, 14:370  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-370

Published: 1 June 2013



Genomics and metagenomics are currently leading research areas, with DNA sequences accumulating at an exponential rate. Although enormous advances in DNA sequencing technologies are taking place, progress is frequently limited by factors such as genomic contig assembly and generation of representative libraries. A number of DNA fragmentation methods, such as hydrodynamic sharing, sonication or DNase I fragmentation, have various drawbacks, including DNA damage, poor fragmentation control, irreproducibility and non-overlapping DNA segment representation. Improvements in these limited DNA scission methods are consequently needed. An alternative method for obtaining higher quality DNA fragments involves partial digestion with restriction endonucleases (REases).

We have shown previously that class-IIS/IIC/IIG TspGWI REase, the prototype member of the Thermus sp. enzyme family, can be chemically relaxed by a cofactor analogue, allowing it to recognize very short DNA sequences of 3-bp combined frequency. Such frequently cleaving REases are extremely rare, with CviJI/CviJI*, SetI and FaiI the only other ones found in nature. Their unusual features make them very useful molecular tools for the development of representative DNA libraries.


We constructed a horse genomic library and a deletion derivative library of the butyrylcholinesterase cDNA coding region using a novel method, based on TaqII, Thermus sp. family bifunctional enzyme exhibiting cofactor analogue specificity relaxation. We used sinefungin (SIN) – an S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) analogue with reversed charge pattern, and dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO), to convert the 6-bp recognition site TaqII (5′-GACCGA-3′ [11/9]) into a theoretical 2.9-bp REase, with 70 shortened variants of the canonical recognition sequence detected. Because partial DNA cleavage is an inherent feature of the Thermus sp. enzyme family, this modified TaqII is uniquely suited to quasi-random library generation.


In the presence of SIN/DMSO, TaqII REase is transformed from cleaving every 4096 bp on average to cleaving every 58 bp. TaqII SIN/DMSO thus extends the palette of available REase prototype specificities. This phenomenon, employed under partial digestion conditions, was applied to quasi-random DNA fragmentation. Further applications include high sensitivity probe generation and metagenomic DNA amplification.